Major Changes Proposed for California Elections Rules

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Two big changes to California elections could come up for debate in the state legislature in 2014. One would eliminate special elections; the other would require cities and counties to hold their votes at statewide elections.

There were 12 special elections for California legislative seats in 2013 – some caused by resignations, others by lawmakers moving to higher office.  Los Angeles County alone spent 12 million dollars on those elections.  So Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is calling for a constitutional amendment that would replace those elections with gubernatorial appointments – just as when a U.S. senate seat goes vacant.

“Here’s the reality, since the beginning of session this last year, when you look at the Assembly and Senate together, we have not had one day yet where we’ve had a full complement of members.”

~Darell Steinberg

Republicans say Democrats want to change the rules because they haven’t fared well in some of the special elections, which often have low voter turnout.

A separate proposal would consolidate municipal elections with statewide elections.  Many cities, including Los Angeles, hold their elections in odd-numbered years.  Not even a quarter of registered LA voters cast ballots last June.




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